Kids and schools will need to recover from massive COVID impact
The boulder reopening in the US after a year where the majority of Americans 56,000,000k through 12 students were learning online.
Load schools have had a major impact on students.
There's been a big spike in mental health issues for kids, While there have also been lessons learned that could change schools for the better for the future.
here to talk about the impact of the pandemic and how to get kids back on track is Dr. Denise Pope at senior lecturer at Stanford University Graduate School of Education.
Author and co founder of challenge success, a nonprofit that promotes best practices in education.
So, Denise, let's start with the challenges.
The CDC reports a nearly 30% jump in the number of kids visits to emergency rooms in 2020, to treat panic and anxiety.
The American Journal of Pediatrics reports a 25% jump in Visits for young adults to treat suicidal behavior.
Are these numbers consistent with what you're seeing?
And what's your perspective on this as an educator?>> Yeah, that's exactly right.
In our own survey, we surveyed 11,000 high school students during the pandemic and At least 30% of them said that mental health was one of their very top concerns.
Typically we see homework as a top concern or grades or assessment.
So this is, this is quite a worry on our part as well.
We are seeing really due to severe isolation.
It is not normal for kids not to be around their peers, right.
And it is a source of health to be social.
That is one of the main jobs that you do when you're a teenager.
So when we have kids who are really isolated to the point where they're many of them are not getting out of their homes.
Maybe they will go to a job.
They're an essential worker.
Maybe they will have a few extracurricular activities in some parts of the country that have opened back up.
Maybe they're going part time to school, but nobody is back to sort of normal pre- pandemic socialization levels.
We also know that when you're a teenager and you're locked up inside with your family, this is the time of your life when you're actually trying to separate from your family.
You're trying to figure out how to be more independent and a lot of families due to very real fears have kind of clamped down.
On their teenagers, and made them feel like they're kind of back in middle school again, right?
With all sorts of rules and everything.
So, it feels like you're moving backwards as a teen instead of moving forward as you need to do developmentally.
So how about, the loss of quality learning time if we just talk about, education itself.
Now, a lot of these kids have had 12 months or more away from the classroom or if they had, you know, some.
Kind of fits and starts of maybe going back and then not going which is also disruptive.
But you also have an estimated 9 million according to US Census Bureau that have no internet or computers at home.
You know, how can those get what kind of Perspective do you have on that?
And then how can those kids help make up for the last learning time from this past year?
Well, I have to give schools credit for herculean efforts to try to get kids connected.
We have lots and lots of districts who have purchased Chromebooks and laptops.
They have work to get internet access.
School buses in the middle of neighborhoods with Wi Fi.
So there's been a lot of efforts to get kids connected and yet we know so many kids, as you mentioned, are just not able to connect.
And so there are going to be some real long term Effects of these kids, some kids have not connected at all.
Teachers have been searching for them have been making phone calls, sending home letters.
That's a population that we're very worried about.
We need them to come back to school.
We need them to deal with all the learning that they've missed for the whole year.
Other kids just have very spotty connections.
And so we're not sure how much learning they were able to get sometimes they're on sometimes the internet kicks them off.
I had two students of my own get kicked off yesterday from class, right?
So that's a full three hour seminar that they they missed and I don't know how they're going to make that up.
So It is a problem with kids who have been really missing out.
On top of that, it's nearly impossible to teach everything that you taught when you have kids coming back half time or hybrid or only online for part of the time.
So even if you have terrific internet access You're still gonna probably have missed out on parts of the curriculum that the teachers would have normally taught in a previous year.
So how do we deal with that?
It's not easy.
We have a lot of schools that are talking about summer programs.
We have a lot of schools that are talking about extensions where they would offer more schooling to kids, particularly kids who are in need of remediation.
And we have some research out there showing the benefits of tutoring.
pulling kid's in addition to their normal school day, giving them very small groups with good one on one attention from a trained tutor to help make up for learning loss and they're talking about maby even doing some kind of like...
AmeriCorps, our Youth Corps program to train a bunch of tutors because we're obviously going to need so many to deal with so many kids,
the knees about .Are there any positive aspects we talked about a lot of really challenges and some negatives.
Are there any positive aspects and things that have come out of the pandemic for students that they could have a positive impact on them.
I'm just the they're learning for the rest of their kind of careers in school.
Yes, so the thing that's been interesting is for some kids, this has actually been a better way for them to do school.
So we have kids who To work multiple jobs to help put food on the table, they're able to do school and fit it into some of their work schedules where they wouldn't have been able to do that before they can watch videos on the weekend.
For classes on the weekend, they can do it at times of day and they can schedule their workshops.
We also have kids who, like it a lot better, they're able to concentrate more.
They don't have to deal with all of the issues.
We have kids who were bullied.
At school who don't have to deal with that you don't have to worry about who you're going to sit with at the lunch table.
It's it's really a better way for those kids to learn.
And we've had some parents tell us that particularly kids with a DD or ADHD, attention deficit disorders and They are able to focus a lot better because it's just school, it's in a quiet place.
There's not all the distractions around them.
So there are definitely some positives for the kids around this kind of learning.
Although, there's far more negatives, I think.
So there's a lot of talk right now, in the corporate world about when we go back.
It's going to be kind of a hybrid environment.
There's going to be more people who are able to work from home.
Some people are going to spend half their time at home and half the time in their office.
Do you see that in education?
Is it possible for some of those populations you mentioned where it's been better?
Do you see that being a case in education or is it more so that once the switches is flipped that it's gonna go back to the way we were before the pandemic?
We'll we've always had schools in this country that are fully online.
They're usually for kids who are sick or hospitalized or maby they have special needs, maby they're actors or actresses, they have to take off for large periods of time and so a normal school schedule hasn't been working for them.
We are predicting kind of an explosion of more online schools like this because there are so many kids who have found it to be better or they like it better.
And there's also still a fear of when we go back in the fall.
I think there are some parents who are still gonna be worried.
We won't have vaccines for kids yet in the fall and so that may be a reason to keep kids home and continue with some sort of online learning.
But I also think that there's been a lot of, new technology being introduced, because of online learning, that more teachers, out of necessity, have learned how to use some Google suite, or some basic technologies.
Zoom obviously, is one of them and they can find ways to make more use of this.
People are talking about maybe snow days, going away, because now we have the capability to put kids online.
Or, when you miss a lesson and you're sick.
Maybe now a teacher can use technology in that way.
So I do see some changes down the line to even just school as normal.
Like is he gonna be bummed about those snow days going away, but-
[LAUGH] I think that there there is an interesting theme you brought up there with tech though too.
We have seen in recent years things like Chromebooks.
And you know, zoom has been more recent but Blackboard and there have been some other things.
Are there new technologies that that have been more greatly used during the pandemic or.
Things that have moved forward that maybe were experimented with before but have become a bigger thing during the pandemic.
You mentioned a couple but is there anything else from a technology standpoint that has has moved forward over the past year?
I mean, Zoom is one of the biggest, right?
And not just kinda putting everyone on a screen but the ability to put people into smaller breakout rooms for teachers to go in and pop in.
The Google suite has been incredibly useful.
Even myself when I put my students in breakout rooms, and I don't want to pop in.
I can see them working simultaneously on the Google document so I know about where they are what they're talking about in that room without me, whereas in the classroom, I would normally be able to see all of them.
The Google Docs and other, forms of technology, allow me to sort of see in or peek in to, those rooms where I normally, wouldn't be able to without those.
So, that's one thing, we have teachers, more teachers exploring online gaming, platforms, have one that is used a lot is called Kahoot.
And it makes learning kind of fun.
It's a little bit of a Quizlet there's some music in the background you compete with one another.
So we are seeing just because they are using technology as their classroom, teachers are turning to.
Towards those kinds of things, gamification of learning, or I've seen a lot of teachers using jam board or mural where kids can draw and visualize and make pictures and move things around.
I know that myself, I'm actually going to probably incorporate some of these things back into my normal teaching practice when we're in person just because I see some of the benefits of them.
I heard of some really interesting things I heard of, for example, somebody had a special whiteboard.
I think this is at a university but where you're writing and they see you writing But then they also see so I look if I'm looking straight ahead, the board is clear, and I'm writing but they can see the technology automatically flips it around so you can see, you know what they're writing not backwards, forwards.
There's some new things like this that are kind of interesting too?
Absolutely and with that particular one you can also fuse in the person in the lecture so you can have sort of a whiteboard background and someone giving a lecture and and melding those together.
Even just even just the use of video which sounds very simple We now have teachers instead of grading papers and writing feedback and handing a paper back to a kid, they're making a little tiny video about it, which is really personal.
And you can say a lot more and honestly, it's a little bit more efficient.
I can say, Great job, Sandy.
I love how you did this, this and this.
Here's what I'd like you to work on more for next time.
By the way, I heard that dad was in the hospital keep me posted, let me know right so you can be really personal with these short little videos as a way to interact with kids, especially because you're not getting to interact with them in the hallway or coming in from class and making those one on one connections and we know how absolutely critical One on one teacher student connections are for student well being.
I mean, that goes back to the mental health issue, right?
You have to feel like you're safe and you have an advocate at your school who you could go to if you had a problem.
And that and technology is one way that help foster that.
And that's faster for teachers you're saying to then actually grading the paper, writing some notes and all that versus just flipping on the camera and doing a quick two, three, four, five minute video.
Right, and a lot of times, you give a paper back and the kids just flip to the back to look at the grade and they don't even really look at the comments.
So here at least, they have to listen in the video because you don't tell them that grade until the end That's so smart.
How about, are the ways teachers teaching changing, with some of these technologies?
There've been talk of, open book essentially test, right?
More focus on, can you find the correct information?
Than just, have you memorized, and can you regurgitate the correct information?
Are you seeing some of that?
Do you think that that is is changing and will have some lasting impacts?
That's actually one of the things that I'm most excited about is the changes in assessment.
In the very beginning of the pandemic schools were calling us and asking for I lockdown software in order to give tests And I said, you know what if that's not the way that you want to assess kids now, but it's also not the way that we should have been assessing kids in the past.
It these fill in the bubble kind of multiple choice things kids can cheat on them, even not in a pandemic, right even in the real world in the classroom.
So a much better way to assess is exactly what you said, asking how to use the information, showing them how they would apply the information to new situations.
And that usually results in open book.
Often un-timed assessments where you are maybe working on a project and you're showing what you know, that way.
Maybe you're pulling it all together for a presentation.
And you have a feedback loop.
We call it revision, and redemption opportunities, because that's really how it works in the real world.
In the real world you're not told, you're gonna have a test tomorrow, you can't use any of the resources you're used to using, can't talk to anybody, it's gonna be timed, and that's how you're gonna show mastery, that's not how we do it.
So this has become much more, real-world authentic forms of assessment.
Well, Dr. Denise Pope, thank you so much for being here.
Challenging important, you know, somewhat promising things ahead.
So we appreciate your perspective and, and best of luck in all the important work that you're doing.
Thank you so much for having me.
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